Timeline for April 2019
The government announces Reiwa as the name of the new era to begin on May 1. It is taken from a phrase in the Man’yōshū anthology of poetry, marking the first time that a Japanese classic text has been used as the basis for the era name.
The Bank of Japan publishes its March Tankan (Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises). The business sentiment index for large manufacturers drops 7 points from the previous report to +12, returning to a pattern of decline after remaining stable in December.
Toyota announces that it will grant royalty-free licenses for 23,740 patents related to hybrid vehicle technology. The patents cover such core technologies as motors and power conversion systems and will be available until the end of 2030.
Tokyo prosecutors rearrest former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust under the Companies Act for having illegally funneled Nissan funds through an Oman firm. This is the fourth time Ghosn has been arrested. At an extraordinary meeting on April 8, Nissan shareholders approve the removal of Ghosn and his former aide Greg Kelly from the board of directors. On April 9, Ghosn’s lawyers release a video he recorded while he was out on bail, asserting his innocence of all charges. On April 22, prosecutors charge Ghosn in the fourth indictment.
- Ghosn Under Arrest Again, One Month After Release on Bail
- In Video, Ghosn Claims Innocence Over All Charges
- Ghosn Indicted for Fourth Time, on Fund Misuse Charge
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency announces that the probe Hayabusa2 has created an artificial crater to collect samples from the Ryūgū asteroid by shooting a copper plate from an impactor. Images sent from the probe confirm that particles arose from the surface at the time of impact. On April 25 JAXA announces it has visually confirmed the creation of the crater.
- Metal Successfully Hits Asteroid Ryūgū in Hayabusa2 Mission
- JAXA Releases Video of Impactor Being Dropped from Hayabusa2
Osaka Ishin no Kai members Matsui Ichirō and Yoshimura Hirofumi successfully exchange the top jobs in Osaka, with Matsui moving from prefectural governor to city mayor and Yoshimura in the opposite direction. The party’s plan to upgrade Osaka to a metropolis was seen as a key issue in the election.
Minister of Finance Asō Tarō announces new designs for Japanese banknotes to be circulated from the first half of the fiscal year beginning April 2024. Businessman Shibusawa Eiichi will appear on the ¥10,000 bill, women’s education pioneer Tsuda Umeko on the ¥5,000 bill, and infectious disease researcher Kitasato Shibasaburō on the ¥1,000 bill.
- Japan to Redesign Banknotes for First Time in 20 Years
- New Japanese Banknotes to Feature International-Minded Thinkers from the Meiji Era
An Air Self-Defense Force F35A fighter jet crashes over the Pacific Ocean in the first ever accident involving the cutting-edge aircraft. On April 16, the Ministry of Defense reveals four new cases of emergency landings among its 13 F35A jets, bringing the total to seven, including two for the jet that ultimately crashed.
At midnight, the government partially lifts an evacuation order on the town of Ōkuma near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. It is the first lifting of an evacuation order in either of the two towns—Ōkuma and Futaba—in which the plant was located.
Sakurada Yoshitaka, the minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, says at a party for House of Representatives lawmaker Takahashi Hinako that reelecting her is more important than reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Prime Minister Abe Shinzō makes Sakurada take responsibility for the gaffe and submit his resignation.
An international team, including the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, announces the first successful capture of an image of a black hole in the Event Horizon Telescope project.
The World Trade Organization's Appellate Body issues a final ruling overturning the judgment of the lower Dispute Settlement Body that South Korea’s ban on fishery products from some Japanese prefectures after the 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima was unfair discrimination. The import ban will thereby continue.
Suzuki submits a report to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism on the company’s certification of vehicles after improper inspections that did not note such problems as substandard brakes and speedometers. President Suzuki Toshihiro says the company will recall some 2 million vehicles that may not meet safety standards.
- Suzuki Seen Recalling 2 Million Vehicles as Inspection Scandal Widens
- Suzuki to Recall 2 Million Vehicles Over Inspection Scandal
Tokyo Electric Power begins work to remove spent nuclear fuel from reactor 3 at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
The organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games announces the full schedule for the Olympics. To reduce the effect of punishing summer heat, the marathon start has been moved up one hour to 6:00 in the morning.
Japan and the United States complete a first round of trade talks in Washington. The two sides start to negotiate eliminating or reducing tariffs on agricultural products and automobiles, and also agree to discuss e-commerce and other aspects of digital trade.
Emperor Akihito, accompanied by Empress Michiko, reports his planned abdication at a ceremony at Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture.
Candidates backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are defeated in two House of Representatives by-elections seen as offering advance indications for this summer’s House of Councillors election. Nippon Ishin no Kai representative Fujita Fumitake wins in Osaka’s twelfth district, while opposition-backed Yara Tomohiro is elected in Okinawa’s third district.
- By-Election Results Alarm Abe's Ruling Bloc, Hearten Opposition
- Record Six Women Secure City Mayoralty in Japan Unified Local Polls
Long-distance coach Koide Yoshio, who helped train top runners including 2000 Sydney marathon gold medalist Takahashi Naoko, passes away at age 80.
Carlos Ghosn secures release on bail for a second time, posting ¥500 million on top of the ¥1 billion previously put up to secure his provisional freedom.
Emperor Akihito formally abdicates in a short ceremony at the Imperial Palace.
(Originally published in Japanese. Banner photo: Stamps commemorating the change of era name to Reiwa. Photograph taken at the National Printing Bureau Ōji Plant in Tokyo on April 18, 2019. © Jiji.)